How to Deal with Sore Gums and Cheeks When Growing New Teeth.


    Posted by Dr. William Linger, DDS, MAGD

    growing new teeth

    Teeth are one of the true marvels of human life. We are constantly growing new teeth and each time, the experience is immensely distracting. Gums get sore, cheeks get bitten, and everyone has to get used to their new teeth no matter what age they come in.

    Teething Over a Lifetime

    First, babies grow their first teeth and go through the process we know as Teething. During this time, we give them frozen bananas and plastic rings to soothe their achy and itching gums.

    Then as children, our baby teeth fall out one by one, leaving a squishy socket into which a new tooth will eventually grow. This process is less uncomfortable but can still be incredibly distracting for most kids.

    Then, as young adults, we go through the teething experience all over again. Far back in a section of gums that's never been used before, wisdom teeth start to grow in.

    Helping Teething Infants

    Teething is never fun for an infant and they get the fun of growing all or most of their teeth in at the same time. Your baby's gums will get sore and itchy as the teeth push through so crankiness should come as no surprise.

    The two things your baby wants most is to rub their gums to relieve pressure and to cool their gums. There are a lot of easy ways to deal with this at home.

    Top Home Teething Solutions

    • Teething Rings
    • Frozen Fruit (bananas, strawberries, mangos)
    • Frozen Bagel
    • Cool Washrag
    • Cold Yogurt or Applesauce
    • Cold Spoon (ice water in restaurants)
    • Wooden Spoon

    These solutions should get you through the teething phase. However, if your baby develops a fever or will not be soothed, take them to your doctor or family dentist to find out if something is wrong.

    Tricks for Growing Adult Teeth

    Children are going to be trading their primary teeth for adult teeth between the ages of about 6 and 13 which is why losing and growing teeth eventually feels like an every-day experience. 

    However, that doesn't mean that every new tooth is going to come in smoothly. Some will ache or itch more than others and some may even come in crooked. This is perfectly normal and it's important to remain aware of your child's tooth development.

    First, make sure to let loose teeth come out naturally. Teeth can be loose for weeks before they come out because it is safely disconnecting. Once the tooth is gone, rinse with water but nothing caustic. 

    If your child has discomfort as a tooth grows in, there are a few things you can do. Just like with babies, massage and cold will help. Healthy cold treats like fresh fruit smoothies, yogurt, and frozen fruit salads are a great place to start.

    Another option is an over the counter gum anesthetic like Orajel or Anbesol. However, any intense discomfort should be checked on with your family dentist. 

    Why and How of Wisdom Teeth

    Now the wisdom teeth are strange because they're a throwback to harder times. Back when people lived rough lives. They didn't have toothbrushes, had a hard time getting nutrients, and lost teeth a lot more often. Wisdom teeth are nature's adult braces.

    They're supposed to come at an angle to push your other teeth inward and fill any gaps left by missing teeth. However, since we don't lose our teeth as much and, let's face it, nature's not always on-target, wisdom teeth can get impacted on their way in.

    Different for Everyone

    For people who are lucky enough to have spacious jaws and well-aimed wisdom teeth, it is possible to grow one to four of your wisdom teeth without incident.

    But the vast majority of people need at least some help from their dentist when the wisdom teeth start coming in. Not everyone grows all four and many will need to be extracted due to angle or infection.

    Soothing the Ache

    If you are one of the few growing a wisdom tooth naturally or recovering after surgery, prepare for soreness all over again. Remember the things you liked as a kid when teeth were growing in and try them again.

    Frozen waffles strips might be just the trick for massaging the gums back there behind your other molars. Some people roll pieces of ice around in their mouths and others swear by the vibrating toothbrush. However, when the distraction gets too much, don't forget about the gum numbing agents.

    The Cheek Biting Problem

    One of the unique challenges of growing new teeth is accidentally biting the inside of your mouth. Your lips can catch in the gap between your front teeth or the back of your cheeks may catch between new molars. Some people even have trouble biting their own tongues by accident.

    It is important to define the difference between cheek biting caused by new teeth and biting that is habitual. If the problems only begin after your tooth ruptures or right before, this means your mouth is coming together in a way it did not before.

    In many cases, the problem will resolve itself over time and you can use ice or frozen things on the swollen cheek, lip, or tongue to reduce future accidental bites.

    If the problem does not resolve as your tooth grows in, you may have a condition known as pericoronitis which is the result of mild misalignment or your gums being slightly too small for your new teeth. You can have the tooth filed, wear a night-guard, or ask your dentist to clip the gums back slightly to make room.

    When to See Your Dentist

    Most people prefer to deal with their teeth on their own, just because it's your mouth and you have to live with it. However, there are some very clear signs that you should visit your dentist and circumstances where it's a good idea to check in.

    Reasons to See Your Dentist

    • Gums bleed when you're not brushing
    • Gums keep bleeding after you brush
    • Deep soreness
    • Intense pain
    • Inability to soothe with over the counter medication
    • Find yourself constantly using over the counter medication
    • Cannot stop biting cheeks, tongue, or lips
    • Increased sensitivity to temperature or sweets

    For more information about how to deal with sore gums from new teeth at any age, contact us today!

    Topics: Dentistry

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